Mission & Strategic Plan

Mission Statement

Carolina University is a Christ-centered University committed to educating aspiring leaders worldwide through exceptional teaching, scholarly research, creative innovation, and professional collaboration.

Strategic Plan 2019-2023

President’s Message

Many have sensed the renewed energy and excitement emanating from a number of recent high profile developments at Carolina University such as the completion of key mergers, the addition of world class talent to the administration, faculty and staff, the launch of new degrees in business, criminal justice, interdisciplinary studies, and Bible exposition, the acquiring of a hotel and entire city block, the expansion to nine scholarship athletic programs, the translation of degrees into other languages, strong improvements in net worth, etc. Carolina University’s Strategic Plan is designed to keep this momentum growing while ensuring that the CU vision remains fresh and relevant. 

Through several mergers Carolina University has become a 115-year-old family of schools, and a maritime cliché has emerged to describe how several challenged colleges came together to form one strong Christian University – “From Many Battered Boats, One Beautiful Ship.” This Strategic Plan for the good ship Carolina University is designed not only to navigate the challenging currents of the ever-shifting and disruptive tides of higher education, but to chart a course for a compelling destination where Carolina University grows to international influence, becomes a model for student and alumni success, sets the standards for competence based higher education, is recognized for innovative excellence and world class research, attracts outstanding talent from across the country and around the world, develops mutually beneficial collaborative relationships across many spectrums, obtains substantial resources for a sustainable future, acquires recognition from additional professional and accrediting bodies, and sets the example of what it means to be a truly Christian university in the 21st century.

Deep appreciation is expressed for all who played critical roles and gave of their time and energy to develop and implement this plan under the capable leadership of Carolina University’s Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Sandeep Gopalan.

Unleash Faith,

Dr Charles Petitt
President, Carolina University

Strategic Plan on a Page

Educate Lead Value Build Impact
Deliver an exceptional education to students nationally and globally on campus and online Become esteemed as a leading Christian university for entrepreneurship, innovation, and knowledge creation Create outstanding value for our students, employers, and the community Build excellent human resources, physical, and digital infrastructure Impact the world through truth and grace
E1: Attract, support, and retain capable traditional and mature-age learners L1: Develop a climate of research, inquiry, and knowledge creation V1: Build national leadership for high value affordable degrees B1: Attract, retain, and develop exceptional researchers and teachers I1: Secure national and international recognition for a distinctive Christian education
E2: Develop state of the art curricula, continually improve it based on data, and deliver inspiring teaching by highly credentialed faculty L2: Establish a system of incentives to reward innovation and research V2: Partner with employers to design degrees and shorter credentials matching workforce needs B2: Prioritize the hiring of faculty and staff based on open merit-based competition to yield the best international talent I2: Expand the delivery of meaningful Christian education to more international markets
E3: Secure regional institutional accreditation and national/international disciplinary accreditation L3: Identify, support, and resource areas with potential to achieve leadership V3: Foster strong employment outcomes for graduates B3: Develop organizational processes to yield optimal flexibility and efficiency I3: Expand partnerships with churches and other bodies
E4: Deliver flexible and market-leading degree, lifelong learning, and executive education programs L4: Improve the international reputation, ranking, and profile of CU as a desirable home for researchers V4: Identify and support lifelong learning programs for alumni and other adult learners B4: Enhance financial position to put CU in a position to thrive. I4: Build articulation agreements with Christian universities internationally.
E5: Expand international study opportunities in degree programs through partnerships and collaboration L5: Improve the quality and scale of doctoral training to place graduates in prestigious academic and research careers V5: Partner with community and government agencies to develop responses to societal problems  B5: Develop excellent campus facilities to support student learning, living, and recreation  
E6: Build and sustain partnerships with employers to embed experiential learning and develop professionals for the future of work L6: Partner with national and international research institutions to foster collaborative projects V6: strengthen community engagement via cultural, faith-based, sporting, and academic initiatives B6: Prioritize and continually improve digital resources to deliver exceptional online education at scale globally  
E7: Enhance opportunities for students to pursue athletics and other co-curricular activities   V7: Gain external recognition as a positive agent of change B7: Build stronger relationships with alumni and donors to generate gifts  
E8: Deliver student-centric academic services to promote learning and student well-being.        

 

Carolina University operates in an environment of high disruption. Whilst all higher education institutions nationally and internationally are experiencing disruptions caused by demographic trends yielding a smaller pool of traditional college-age students, declining enrollments, changing student demands, automation, employers’ shift from traditional college credentials in hiring, and digital technology innovations in delivery, Christian higher education institutions are especially vulnerable.

This strategic plan is designed to enable CU to not only survive, but thrive in such an environment of disruption by positioning it for leadership in key areas. The plan is built upon five strategic goals: Educate, Lead, Value, Build, and Impact. Each goal is backed up by a series of strategies to help the institution to achieve the goal. Each strategy is supported by specific actions that help to implement the strategy. Finally, there are specific targets that set the measure for how CU is tracking on meeting each goal during the plan period.

Goal 1: Educate

Deliver an exceptional education to students nationally and globally on campus and online.

This goal is predicated on the fact that the quality of our educational products is the single most important factor for our success. It establishes our reputation, increases the likelihood of attracting the right cohort of students, draws talented faculty and staff, enhances the employability of graduates, and ensures attractiveness to donors.

Strategies supporting the goal of delivering an exceptional education to students nationally and globally both on campus and online:

E1: Attract, support, and retain capable traditional and mature-age learners;
E2: Develop state-of-the-art curricula, continually improve it based on data, and deliver inspiring teaching by highly credentialed faculty;
E3: Secure regional institutional accreditation and national/international disciplinary accreditation;
E4: Deliver flexible and market-leading degree, lifelong learning, and executive education programs;
E5: Expand international study opportunities in degree programs through partnerships and collaboration;
E6: Build and sustain partnerships with employers to embed experiential learning and develop professionals for the future of work;
E7: Enhance opportunities for students to pursue athletics and other co-curricular activities;
E8: Deliver student-centric academic services to promote learning and student well-being.

The following priority actions enable the implementation of the strategies above:

E1: Attract, support, and retain capable traditional and mature-age learners.

E1A1: Develop a marketing and recruitment plan specifying targets and implementation steps;
E1A2: Implement recruitment plan and commence periodic presentations/visits to high schools within a 150-mile radius of Winston-Salem;
E1A3: Build and nurture relationships with high school counselors/principals within a 150-mile radius of Winston-Salem and socialize them about CU advantages;
E1A4: Offer academic scholarships to high achieving school graduates who enroll in CU degrees;
E1A5: Implement targeted Facebook and other social media marketing aimed at high school graduating students predisposed to CU ethos;
E1A6: Build and strengthen relationships with churches and pastors with recruitment incentives;
E1A7: Build relationships with employers (e.g. Sheriff’s Office) to recruit adult learners;
E1A8: Develop a competency-based college completion program for adult learners;
E1A9: Track attrition and develop a comprehensive retention plan supported by analytics to reduce attrition and improve 6-year graduation rate;
E1A10: Build a strong branding campaign to establish market presence and become an institution of choice for learners of all ages.

E2: Develop state-of-the-art curricula, continually improve it based on data, and deliver inspiring teaching by highly credentialed faculty.

E2A1: Review all curricula to ensure clear learning outcomes are specified and achieved across courses and programs;
E2A2: Consult with relevant employers and other stakeholders in conjunction with research about market demands;
E2A3: Update and continually revise curricula to ensure all courses/programs are state-of-the-art and are tied to data about market needs;
E2A4: Collect student feedback on teaching quality, effectiveness, and relevance on a regular basis for all courses;
E2A5: Provide teaching quality data to relevant faculty and their supervisors for review at department/school levels to address deficiencies and build on strengths;
E2A6: Standardize teaching expectations to ensure a high-quality learning environment for all courses;
E2A7: Ensure that all courses are taught by highly credentialed faculty who meet or exceed regional accreditation norms and that teaching is research-based as appropriate;
E2A8: Ensure appropriate training and support for teaching including technology tools, mentorship, and professional development opportunities.

E3: Secure regional institutional accreditation and national/international disciplinary accreditation.

E3A1: Identify hurdles to SACSOC accreditation and implement plan to overcome obstacles;
E3A2: Commence specific steps to prepare SACSOC filing and resource accreditation team appropriately;
E3A3: Prepare and submit SACSSOC accreditation documentation;
E3A4: Complete TRACS reaffirmation;
E3A5: Pursue other national and international accreditations (e.g. AACSB) that add value for students and the institution.

E4: Deliver flexible and market-leading degree, lifelong learning, and executive education programs.

E4A1: Identify and create open and customized executive education offerings;
E4A2: Conduct market research on emerging skills gaps that match CU expertise/aspirations;
E4A3: Develop and offer short-term and intensive courses to take advantage of opportunities and build brand;
E4A4: Leverage technology to deliver flexible programs for alumni;
E4A5: Build thought leadership as a provider of choice for lifelong learning;
E4A6: Develop and deliver bespoke training programs for professionals in international markets.
E4A7: Implement strategies to leverage state and federal work-study programs/funding.

E5: Expand international study opportunities in degree programs through partnerships and collaboration.

E5A1: Conclude study abroad and exchange agreements with universities in Europe, Asia, S. America, and Africa;
E5A2: Incorporate avenues for study abroad in all CU programs to enhance global citizenship capabilities in students;
E5A3: Implement a communication plan to educate students about the value of international study;
E5A4: Implement a marketing plan to build awareness amongst international universities about attractiveness of CU as a destination and recruit foreign students;
E5A5: Develop study tours and short-term study opportunities for credit within CU degree programs;
E5A6: Pursue external funding opportunities to defray student costs to enable wider participation in study abroad opportunities.

E6: Build and sustain partnerships with employers to embed experiential learning and develop professionals for the future of work.

E6A1: Conclude agreements with local and national employers to host CU students in internships/externships;
E6A2: Develop clinics and other experiential learning environments for students;
E6A3: Conduct systematic analysis of opportunities to embed experiential learning into appropriate CU programs and leverage them as a CU point of distinction;
E6A4: Embed insights from research on future of work to enhance CU graduation outcomes and improve placement in highly sought careers.

E7: Enhance opportunities for students to pursue athletics and other co-curricular activities.

E7A1: Enhance and build quality sports facilities to attract and retain high performing sportspersons;
E7A2: Build athletics programs based on student interest and attract resources to enhance existing programs and support the development of additional sports;
E7A3: Implement a recruitment campaign to enroll highly talented scholar athletes;
E7A4: Recruit highly accomplished collegiate coaches and support staff;
E7A5: Enhance the funding pool to provide a greater number of sports scholarships;
E7A6: Implement communication plan to inform and include campus community in athletics.

E8: Deliver student-centric academic services to promote learning and student well-being.

E8A1: Improve student services functions across academic support, counseling, mentorship, and mental health services;
E8A2: Develop student hubs to enhance learning communities;
E8A3: Train and develop staff in all student-facing functions to deliver exceptional customer-service;
E8A4: Implement student surveys and other tracking tools to monitor and improve upon service delivery to students.

Goal 2: Lead

Become esteemed as a leading Christian university for entrepreneurship, innovation, and knowledge creation

Goal 2 is predicated on the idea that CU has an opportunity to gain leadership for a distinctive Christian approach to entrepreneurship, innovation, and knowledge creation. It is also based on the truth that CU cannot be a mere consumer of knowledge created by others, and that it generates new knowledge that seeks to solve global problems.

The strategies that will enable the achievement of Goal 2 are below:

L1: Develop a climate of research, inquiry, and knowledge creation;
L2: Establish a system of incentives to reward innovation and research;
L3: Identify, support, and resource areas with potential to achieve leadership;
L4: Improve the international reputation, ranking, and profile of CU as a desirable home for researchers;
L5: Improve the quality and scale of doctoral training to place graduates in prestigious academic and research careers;
L6: Partner with national and international research institutions to foster collaborative projects.

The actions that will help the implementation of these strategies are below:

L1: Develop a climate of research, inquiry, and knowledge creation.

L1A1: Build a commitment to scholarly inquiry, critical thinking, and knowledge dissemination through workshops/symposia;
L1A2: Establish a program of faculty development aimed at research, inquiry, and publication;
L1A3: Support and mentor early career researchers through lighter teaching loads, conference grants, and research opportunities;
L1A4: Establish and support mentoring by established researchers whether they are located at CU or externally.

L2: Establish a system of incentives to reward innovation and research.

L2A1: Develop a faculty reward structure that ties compensation and promotion to research productivity;
L2A2: Establish specific financial rewards for programmatic and research-based innovation;
L2A3: Offer workshops, trainings, and other initiatives to support faculty in the support of prestigious grants and other external funding.
L2A4: Include specific research, publication, and innovation criteria in faculty promotions.

L3: Identify, support, and resource areas with potential to achieve leadership.

L3A1: Conduct a research landscape survey to identify areas with potential to obtain regional and national leadership;
L3A2: Recruit emerging leaders in these areas and build teams with appropriate strength;
L3A3: Strategically prioritize alignment with these areas in hiring announcements/panels/decisions and resource allocation;
L3A4: Support priority research areas with higher resources as “crown jewels” with clear KPIs.

L4: Improve the international reputation, ranking, and profile of CU as a desirable home for researchers.

L4A1: Conduct a strategic analysis of potential ranking avenues (e.g., QS rankings of universities under 100 years old);
L4A2: Facilitate co-authorship and collaboration projects with prestigious partners;
L4A3: Recruit prestigious researchers and thought-leaders as visiting professors;
L4A4: Enhance engagement with high profile individuals in the United States and globally;
L4A5: Implement an aggressive communication plan to disseminate CU research in media outlets;
L4A6: Actively participate in national and international research conferences to enhance visibility and recognition;
L4A7: Organize and host research events and researchers periodically.

L5: Improve the quality and scale of doctoral training to place graduates in prestigious academic and research careers.

L5A1: Develop high quality doctoral training programs in areas of CU research strength;
L5A2: Recruit and train excellent doctoral students both in the United States and co-located in foreign locations with partner universities;
L5A3: Provide mentorship and career planning support to doctoral students to enable success in academic/research jobs;
L5A4: Provide incentives for prestigious publications/conferences for doctoral students;
L5A5: Develop a doctoral student competition to enhance skills and provide visibility for CU within the emerging researcher community;
L5A6: Develop articulation/cotutelle agreements with international universities to train their staff/students at CU.

L6: Partner with national and international research institutions to foster collaborative projects.

L6A1: Identify compatible research partners for CU and conclude agreements providing a framework for research collaboration;
L6A2: Recruit CU faculty champions to participate in and lead collaborative projects;
L6A3: Establish incentives for CU faculty to co-author journal articles/grant proposals/submissions with international partners.
L6A4: Build a network of Christian research institutions for collaboration.

Goal 3: Value

Create outstanding value for our students, employers, and the community.

This goal aims at establishing leadership for delivering outstanding value for all CU stakeholders. Value has come into sharper focus in higher education due to the growing concern about student debt and worries about the mismatch between labor market needs and college degrees.

The following strategies will assist CU in achieving Goal 3:

V1: Build national leadership for high value affordable degrees;
V2: Partner with employers to design degrees and shorter credentials matching workforce needs;
V3: Foster strong employment outcomes for graduates;
V4: Identify and support lifelong learning programs for alumni and other adult learners;
V5: Partner with community and government agencies to develop responses to societal problems;
V6: strengthen community engagement via cultural, faith-based, sporting, and academic initiatives;
V7: Gain external recognition as a positive agent of change.

The following actions will enable the implementation of the above strategies.

V1: Build national leadership for high value affordable degrees.

V1A1: Continue to prioritize efficient delivery of high-quality education at an affordable cost;
V1A2: implement a communication plan to socialize market about competitive advantage of CU degree;
V1A3: Build affordability and low price as a visible, recognized differentiator in marketing campaigns;
V1A4: Pro-actively engage with national and regional media regarding college debt crisis;
V1A5: Empower CU faculty to communicate clear message across variety of platforms about CU’s leadership for affordability.

V2: Partner with employers to design degrees and shorter credentials matching workforce needs.

V2A1: Build partnerships with employers who are experiencing skills gaps and require re-skilling of existing workforce;
V2A2: Partner with employers to offer market-responsive shorter courses to match particular capability needs;
V2A3: Partner with agencies such as the Lumina Foundation to offer accredited badges/micro-masters/digital credentials;
V2A4: Partner with Governor and other state agencies to tie CU programs to state economic and workforce strategies.

V3: Foster strong employment outcomes for graduates.

V3A1: Establish a careers office at CU to develop resume writing and interviewing skills;
V3A2: Establish a bi-annual careers fair on CU campus with employer participation;
V3A3: Inculcate career planning and preparation into all CU degree programs commencing in the 1st year of 4-year degree programs, and the 1st semester of graduate degrees;
V3A4: Incorporate internships and work placements into degree programs;
V3A5: Track employment outcomes of graduates and maintain continuing engagement about career progression;
V3A6: Engage with employers in Winston-Salem and the region to raise awareness about CU and inform curriculum/program improvements.

V4: Identify and support lifelong learning programs for alumni and other adult learners.

V4A1: Survey alumni about career aspirations and learning needs;
V4A2: Conduct market analysis of current and future skills needs in the region;
V4A3: Build brand awareness about CU amongst adult learners through targeted communication campaigns;
V4A4: Leverage competitive advantages such as affordability to offer flexible college completion programs for adult learners;
V4A5: Develop postgraduate credentials for adult learners in areas of demand;
V4A6: Offer short courses for alumni in areas of job market demand to foster upward mobility;
V4A7: Implement incentives/scholarships for alumni enrolling in short-courses/postgraduate/PhD programs.

V5: Partner with community and government agencies to develop responses to societal problems.

V5A1: Support regional community in their efforts to engage with societal issues by making relevant knowledge available;
V5A2: Proactively engage with community organizations in areas of alignment;
V5A3: Engage with government agencies and develop evidence-based research to support pro-social initiatives;
V5A4: Develop partnerships with NGOs, churches, schools, businesses, and government bodies to develop positive interventions for the community.

V6: Strengthen community engagement via cultural, Christian, sporting, and academic initiatives.

V6A1: Develop short, medium, and long-term initiatives to embed CU in the local and regional community.
V6A2: Organize and host cultural events open to the public to enhance community life;
V6A3: Implement communications plan to raise awareness of and participation by local community in CU sports;
V6A4: Leverage CU chapel to offer faith-based events to the public;
V6A5: Organize periodic public lectures by prominent experts.

V7: Gain external recognition as a positive agent of change.

V7A1: Communicate positive accomplishments of benefit to local, regional, and national communities to thought-leaders and influencers;
V7A2: Evidence and articulate change achieved by CU in formats suitable for external validation and recognition;
V7A3: Encourage faculty, staff, and student participation for CU to gain recognition as agent of change.

Goal 4: Build

Build excellent human resources, physical, and digital infrastructure

This goal is underpinned by strategies to develop excellent resources and infrastructure supporting CU’s aspirations to become a quality global university. The strategies are:

B1: Attract, retain, and develop exceptional researchers and teachers;
B2: Prioritize the hiring of faculty and staff based on open merit-based competition to yield the best international talent;
B3: Develop organizational processes to yield optimal flexibility and efficiency;
B4: Enhance financial position to put CU in a position to thrive;
B5: Develop excellent campus facilities to support student learning, living, and recreation;
B6: Prioritize and continually improve digital resources to deliver exceptional online education at scale globally;
B7: Build stronger relationships with alumni and donors to generate gifts.

B1: Attract, retain, and develop exceptional researchers and teachers.

B1A1: Strengthen human resources policies and practices to attract highly accomplished researchers and teachers;
B1A2: Benchmark faculty against peer and aspirational peer institutions and establish targets;
B1A3: Create development opportunities for faculty to improve publications, visibility, and reputation;
B1A4: Promote diversity best practices in hiring, promotion, and retention of faculty.

B2: Prioritize the hiring of faculty and staff based on open merit-based competition to yield the best national and international talent.

B2A1: Enhance recruitment process to attract the highest credentialed faculty and researchers prioritizing those with significant experience in highly ranked universities;
B2A2: Implement recruitment policies supporting open merit-based competitive recruitment;
B2A3: Participate in discipline specific job fairs to attract and recruit exceptional talent to CU.

B3: Develop organizational processes to yield optimal compliance, flexibility and efficiency.

B3A1: Implement organizational structures and processes designed to yield flexibility and efficient performance in a rapidly disrupted environment.
B3A2: Strengthen leadership capabilities at all levels of the organization.
B3A3: Review and revise governance and management policies and practices to comply with laws, regulations, and best practices.

B4: Enhance financial position to put CU in a position to thrive.

B4A1: Develop and implement a 5-year recruitment and enrollment plan to support CU’s growth;
B4A2: Boost conversion and retention rates to improve efficiency;
B4A3: Prioritize resourcing based on ROI across the institution and eliminate waste;
B4A4: Diversify income streams and reduce over-dependency on vulnerable sources.

B5: Develop excellent library and campus facilities to support student learning, living, and recreation.

B5A1: Enhance the quality of classrooms and other campus learning facilities;
B5A2: Prioritize the building of an excellent library to support all programs and research;
B5A3: Develop language/writing center and other learning resources;
B5A4: Build high quality student accommodation to support enrollment growth;
B5A5: Support student and staff recreational opportunities through the creation of dedicated and partner facilities.

B6: Prioritize and continually improve digital resources to deliver exceptional online education at scale globally.

B6A1: Enhance the quality of the digital learning environment to deliver exceptional online education;
B6A2: Partner with online education enterprises to grow CU online education footprint;
B6A3: Build partnerships with international universities to deliver online programs on site;
B6A4: Integrate digital tools including analytics, adaptive/virtual reality media as relevant to enhance online student learning.

B7: Build stronger relationships with alumni and donors to generate gifts.

B7A1: Develop and implement an alumni engagement strategy;
B7A2: Build strong relationships with alumni to expand alumni giving;
B7A3: Diversify donor base to attract substantial philanthropic donations for endowed chairs, campus facilities, and naming gifts.

Goal 5: Impact

Impact the world through truth and grace

This goal is underpinned by strategies and actions designed to impact the world as a strong Christian university. The strategies are below:

I1: Secure international recognition for a distinctive Christian education;
I2: Expand the delivery of meaningful Christian education to more international markets;
I3: Expand partnerships with churches and other bodies;
I4: Build articulation agreements with Christian universities internationally.

I1: Secure international recognition for a distinctive Christian education.

I1A1: Articulate and communicate CU’s distinctive vision for Christian higher education;
I1A2: Promote Christian education across the curriculum as appropriate;
I1A3: Participate in conferences and thought-leadership opportunities to enhance visibility;
I1A4: Implement a robust advertising and marketing campaign to build recognition in international markets.

I2: Expand the delivery of meaningful Christian education to more international markets.

I2A1: Identify compatible international markets for Christian higher education;
I2A2: Identify and partner with universities and agencies for delivery of CU programs overseas;
I2A3: Implement country-specific campaigns to deliver online and hybrid education in large markets such as China, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria.

I3: Expand partnerships with churches and other bodies.

I3A1: Grow the CU affiliate church network through robust engagement with church leaders;
I3A2: Offer development opportunities and CU knowledge to pastors and other church leaders;
I3A3: Enable pastors and church leaders to respond to local and national issues by supporting them with knowledge and research provision.

I4: Build articulation agreements with Christian universities internationally.

I4A1: Identify and map programs at Christian universities in major international markets aligned with CU degrees;
I4A2: Conclude articulation agreements into CU degree programs to create pipeline of international students;
I4A3: Implement recruitment and enrollment plan for students from partner universities;
I4A4: Develop and implement strong orientation and onboarding programs for students from partner universities.